Playwright, actor, director. Girish Karnad's contribution to the Indian theatre and film scene is commendable. And Samprati, the 10th edition of Ranga Shankara's theatre fest, to be held later this month, will be in recognition to his contributions.
"Girish has a lot to his credit, but this time we'll be looking at him as a playwright, with his works spanning across five decades," says Surendranath, artistic director, Ranga Shankara, who's curating the festival.
As the tagline of the fest - A New Generation Directs Girish Karnad - which kicked off in 2005, a year after Ranga Shankara emerged as one of the major theatre hubs in the city as well as on the national level, this year's festival is also about making today's youngsters feel welcome into the theatre scene. "Theatre in Bangalore or in India is no longer comprised of traditionalists from earlier generations," says Surendranath.
Tapping the youth
Talking about how Karnad became the subject this year, Surendranath explains, "With the elections in 2014, there will be many youths casting their votes for the first time. So we thought this to be a good time to find out what today's youth is thinking and how they are reacting to issues. So with them reinterpreting Karnad's plays, it's a meeting of the past with the present."
Apart from staging plays by the playwright who altered the landscape of Indian theatre, his films Tughlaq, Bali, The Fire and The Rain, Kaadu, will also be screened. The weekends will see discussions on topics like the portrayal of women and politics in Karnad's plays. Karnad will be present on all the days, sharing his journey, inspiration and challenges that he faced during the session titled 'Master Talks - How I Write'.
Chance to win
Team Ranga Shankara has also gone all out to tap the youth and it has chosen to do so through cell phones. Anyone above the age of 18 is invited to enact a five-minute monologue from any of Karnad's plays (in any language), film it and email it to Ranga Shankara. The best will be screened during the 10-day festival from October 18 to 27.
Ranga Shankara has also announced a review contest, where school and college students can SMS short reviews of the plays. "About 60 to 80 words," he says, adding that perhaps the best entries will merit a book as the prize. Clearly, participants will have much more to take away than just this reward.